The exhibition PAUL MEISSNER. An architect between tradition and awakening in the Kunstforum der TU Darmstadt brings the Darmstadt university teacher and builder of the former Landeshypothekenbank for the first time in full focus. Paul Meißner (1868-1939) belongs to that generation of architectural artists between late historicism and early modernism that has to be rediscovered.
His early tasks, such as the “New Town Hall” in Freiburg im Breisgau, (1895-1901), clearly reveal the language of his academic teacher, the influential Berlin professor Carl Schäfer (1844-1908), a key figure in late historicism and early monument preservation.
Meißner's breakthrough as an architect succeeds with the construction of the Landeshypothekenbank at Darmstädter Paulusplatz (1905-1908), today the seat of the Evangelical Church of Hesse-Nassau. He sets up bridge construction projects with the Kaiser Wilhelm Bridge in Trier (1910/11) and the Bismarck Bridge in Saarbrücken (1912/13). In addition to public and private works, he mainly works as a monument conservationist (for example, reconstruction of the west choir of the St. Catherine's Church in Oppenheim from 1934) and with important industrial and engineering constructions, for example. for Dyckerhoff & Widmann in Wiesbaden-Biebrich or Opel in Rüsselsheim. Meißner's 1929 completed drinking and Wandelhalle becomes a kind of landmark of the North Hessian Bad Wildungen.
The end of his life and his academic career is overshadowed by the rise of National Socialism: In a politically motivated campaign Meißner was discredited in the spring of 1933 and forced to give up his offices. Paul Meißner dies a few days after the beginning of the Second World War.